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Well, that's because the US is built on ideas, not on blood. * As far as I know there are only two other states that have that weird foundation, namely the Soviet Union and France.

Ideas-based identity is dangerous as it gives its citizens an evangelical world view, be it la mission civilicatrice, world communism or Market Democracy (tm).

Blood based societies are often less aggresive, at least as long as they aren't, well, nationalists instead of just patriots. Then they tend to be of the kill'em all and take their stuff-school.

Blood patriots=safe, ideas patriots=dangerous. As it is easier to get the ideas patriots into foreign adventures in this day and age.

* Of course, it's never as clean cut as that, as the US has its WASP's, the Soviet had Russian imperialism, and the French had, well, France.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 05:32:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good try, but no cigar. You're forgetting Manifest Destiny and the way the US killed the North American Indians and took their stuff in the 19th century.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 05:43:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I did say it wasn't clear cut.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 05:53:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's either ideals and idealism or Blut und Ehre.  Or a Kantian or Hegelian combination.

However France is really the first nation-state; when one looks at borders, demographics, and language.  The French revolution was pretty homogenous.  All of Europe was, especially in demographic maps - except the Balkans, the Balkans look like a polka dotted skirt.

French Republicans!  This is why the aristocrats patronized the German Romantics to write against Napoleon through folklore to propagandize the peasants to fight against their interests when Napoleon was setting up republics, especially in the Rhineland.  Their influence thankfully ended in the rubble of Berlin in 1945.  But Heinrich Heine was ranting about this

But that was supposedly the Great Experiment of the Enlightenment in the US, the beauty was that it was not a nation-state but rather a country made up of several nations.

I am not trying to defend anything here, which is reality today.  I just want to point out what the original purpose was and what a patriot meant.

Obviously, that failed when we had the first Constitutional Convention and they compromised on slavery, our original sin - the fruit of the tree so to speak.  Then it was even easier to sin further with the genocide of the Native Americans afterwards.

But yes, I agree, the Bolsheviks were indeed cosmopolitan in that they wanted a world-wide movement rather than a local national movement.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Flöte! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 05:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However France is really the first nation-state; when one looks at borders, demographics, and language.  The French revolution was pretty homogenous.

Yes and no... It is debatable whether the French nation even existed at the time, at least in any for m that would be recognisable today...

All of Europe was, especially in demographic maps - except the Balkans, the Balkans look like a polka dotted skirt.

And Austria-Hungary. Unless, of course, you count those as "Balkans."

And the Netherlands. And Belgium. And pretty much everywhere on the edges of what would later become Germany.

The point here is not that the border revisions were huge. They weren't, by any stretch of the imagination. The point is that they were often extremely vicious and de-stabilising.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 06:06:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
However France is really the first nation-state; when one looks at borders, demographics, and language.

That's correct in my view. The assimilation process started at the end of the 100 Years War, with the absolutist kings applying it already when pushing their borders West towards the Rhine. Still, it wasn't finished until WWI... or maybe not until the loss of Algeria (which was legally part of Metropolitan France).

The French revolution was pretty homogenous.

Nope, that's quite far from the truth.

The French Revolution was primarily a Paris thing, but France was so centralised that that was enough. There was a pretty nasty civil war Southwest of Paris: the Vendée uprising. The educational and official language measures of the French Revolution did much to create a French cultural unity at the same time it triggered other nationalisms in resistance (especially Pangermanism) when applied Europe-wide under Napoleon. Even then, the Italian/French/local identities in Provence, Savoy and the upper Po basin didn't sort themselves out for a century. (Or more, if you watch Fernandel's border guard identity crisis comedy in La legge è legge.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 05:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(cont.)

pretty homogenous.  All of Europe was, especially in demographic maps - except the Balkans look like a polka dotted skirt

Nah, the rest of the Habsburg Empire looked like a polka dotted skirt (in some areas it still does), not to speak of the hazy German-Polish and Polish-Russian (resp. Belorussian/Ukrainian/etc.) borders. Those were 'sorted out' with WWII and mass deportations afterwards. All apparent ethnic homogeneity was created with blood and deportations and assimilation, maybe except for Iceland.

the aristocrats patronized the German Romantics to write against Napoleon through folklore to propagandize the peasants to fight against their interests when Napoleon was setting up republics, especially in the Rhineland

How much was it the aristocrats' doing? After all, the nationalists tended to be liberals, which got them in conflict with aristocrats by default -- not to mention pure power interests in keeping their local power vs. pan-German calls (something the nationalists would decry very effectively as "provincialism").

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 06:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
blood and deportations and assimilation
Otherwise known as "nation-building"...

How much was it the aristocrats' doing?
My feeling is that the aristocrats often were a cosmopolitan anti-national force. Married into other noble families in other nations, split loyalties and so one, and maybe most importantly, the national idea was mainly pushed by the royal (ie central) power as a means of controlling and weakening the aristocrats and strengthening itself. At least here in Ultima Thule.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 07:42:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
propagandize the peasants to fight against their interests when Napoleon was setting up republics, especially in the Rhineland

Or rather, setting up puppet states to consolidate his empire. You should realise that Napoleon's propaganda was for his time like Bush's for ours.

But yes, I agree, the Bolsheviks were indeed cosmopolitan in that they wanted a world-wide movement rather than a local national movement.

That's not fully correct, and this happens to be the subject of a diary I planned years ago but which couldn't get itself written.

World Revolution was a basic communist concept; and internationalism was a key point in the original split between Social Democrats and communists/socialists. But the Bolsheviks in Russia gave up on World Revolution pretty fast after the Revolution. They even felt the need to underpin this deviation from classical Marxism ideologically, e.g. the possibility of "socialism in one country". Thereafter, relations with communists elsewhere became foreign policy, that is, they were in the service of a country's interests.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 06:29:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmmm, tribal logic was the norm for tens of thousands of years, as it is today in rural afghanistan. i support my unit, right or wrong. it's only comparatively recently that we have evolved substituting ideas for what was as normal as the sun coming up every morning. it was a radical change for sure, still far too radical for some!

the next step will be making them good ideas...

:)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 06:30:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i should add that the military uses this tribal psychology to reinforce group bonds and morale, the cog-diss comes when the poor grunts try and believe they're not just there for smash-and-grab, but for some holy cause or other.

cf 'honour', 'liberty', the american way' etc

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 6th, 2009 at 06:34:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Er, yes and no.

Even the "blood"-based countries are built on ideas: only the idea is one concerning a supposed blood shared uniformly within and not shared beyond the borders. Behind all the talk of shared blood, the reality is always a genetic diversity, a diversity that exists locally and that has continuous patterns geographically that don't exactly correspond to borders. But nationalism tries to cover actual variation either by attempting cultural assimilation, or by attempting secession (depending on where you draw the limits of Your People).

The distinction between "blood"-based and "idea"-based national identities is blurred further if you consider countries beyond the USA and (most of) Europe. For, basically all post-colonial states and all post-imperial states show rather strong ethnic, language, cultural diversity. Some of these, like say Nigeria, are purely the products of colonial border drawing. Others, like India, are the products of domestically created unity myths.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu May 21st, 2009 at 04:49:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't agree. Blood based states are in one way natural (and with natural or normal I don't imply that it is in itself something good: lions naturally eat other lions offspring).

How so? The natural state of being of man is the (small) tribe. That's what our mind and social behaviour developed: we are related, know and trust each other, the other tribes are enemies, or at least dangerous. Then agriculture arrived, tribes grew to villages, cities, and regions and with the advent of better bureaucracy, rudimentary mass media, faster transportation and the 19th century push for centralism made possible by these advances, the tribe had grown to encompass an entire country. The nation state was born, and in spite of the predictions of many academic scribblers, it is still strong. Probably because it feels so... natural, because it activates the feeling and relationships with which we have coevolved for tens of thousands of years.

Or something like that.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat May 23rd, 2009 at 07:49:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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